Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Handout: Fundamentals of Language Acquisition

Fundamentals of Language Acquisition
S Krashen:  sdkrashen.com, twitter = skrashen

The Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis:
ACQUISITION – subconscious = "picking up" a language
- While it is happening, we are not aware that it is happening.
- Once we have acquired something, we are not usually aware that anything has happened;
Everybody can acquire. The language acquisition device never shuts off.
Both oral and written language can be acquired.
Acquisition - What the brain does well.

LEARNING – conscious = "rules", "grammar": What we did in school.
Error correction helps learning. When we make a mistake and are corrected, we are supposed to change our conscious version of the rule.
Learning – What the brain does poorly.

The Natural Order Hypothesis
We acquire (not learn) aspects of language in a predictable order.
-       Not based on simplicity/complexity.
-       Cannot be changed.
-       NOT the syllabus.

The Monitor Hypothesis: Consciously learned language only available as Monitor, or editor. 
Conditions (severe) for Monitor use:  (1) Know the rule; (2)  Think about correctness (focus on form) (3) Time.

The Comprehension Hypothesis: The centerpiece of the theory: We acquire language when we understand messages.
AMAZING FACTS about language acquisition:
Effortless: no energy, no work.
Involuntary:  Given comprehensible input, you must acquire.

Corollary: Talking is not Practicing.
1) we acquire language by input, not output.
2) ability to speak: the RESULT of language acquisition
3) correction? (real cure: More comprehensible input – accuracy EMERGES

The Affective Filter Hypothesis:
Affective variables: motivation, anxiety, self-esteem
The FILTER (block) prevents input from reaching the Language Acquisition Device.
COMPELLING comprehensible input
   Compelling: so interesting you are not aware of the language, sense of time diminishes, sense of self diminishes = Flow (Csíkszentmihályi)
   Compelling input destroys the affective filter (temporarily), eliminates need for "motivation"
   Case histories: language acquisition never the goal, but a by-product. It was the story.
1.    Jack, a Mandarin heritage language speaker: The Stories of A Fanti led to improvement, but only when stories were available (Lao & Krashen, IJFLT, 2008).
2.    Paul: Cantonese and English speaker, acquired Mandarin from cartoons and lots of TV shows and movies, with no particular motivation to acquire Mandarin.


Role of the class:  Class is ideal for beginners!  Goal: Intermediate level

Beginning level:
TPR: Total Physical Response (Asher): Website: http://www.tpr-world.com/
Natural Approach (Terrell)
TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling; Blaine Ray)

Underlying principles      class: filled with comprehensible input
organized, but not around points of grammar: but around activities that students will find comprehensible and interesting (compelling)
speech not forced but encouraged (indirect contribution)
grammar: not for children, as linguistics, for editing
compelling input > stories, personalzization

Research: CI wins in method comparisons
Isik (2000: ITL: Rev of Applied Linguistics) High school EFL, Turkey, intermediates; 29 hours per week, 36 weeks:
CI = Communication-based, minimal correction, graded readers, 75% CI, 25% grammar.
Grammar = 24 hrs/week form-based, 20% CI, 80% grammar

comprehensible input
Oxford grammar test
67.6 (5.0)
45.6 (9.6)
22.25 (1.07)
14.5 (4.26)
Listening compr.
24.9 (2.29)
17.5 (3.3)
19.4 (2.6)
7.5 (3.3)

The rise of TPRS (Blaine Ray) -  stories, personalization, graded readers
Varguez (2009: IJFLT.com)  Beginning Spanish in high school in US
TPRS significantly better than comparisons (t = 10.56, p < .0001).
Low SES TPRS class = comparisons. (Had TPRS teacher for part of year)
mean (sd)
32 (4.7)
22.3 (38.2)
23.45 (21.2)
Measure: combination of listening and reading

Intermediate methods: 
Sheltered subject matter teaching: based on comprehensible input/immersion methods
Characteristics: (1) intermediates only; (2) focus on subject-matter, not language
Research: When compared to intermediate foreign language classes:
(1) as much or more language development (2) subject matter knowledge at the same time (3) academic language


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